Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Dolby Attempts To Redefine Sound In Movie Theaters

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The company that pioneered surround sound is attempting to redefine the sound experience in a movie theater again. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.

You know the immersive sense, visually, you get when watching a movie in 3-D? Well now, Dolby wants to give you the same type of immersion with sound. The same company that helped pioneer surround sound wants to surround you with even more sound with its new system for theaters called Dolby Atmos.

"As you go inside a movie theater today, typically, the sound speakers that surround the audience, as it were, are literally around the side and then behind you," says Stuart Bowling of Dolby Laboratories. "Now what we're doing is adding speakers over the audience as well so now, we can create this hemisphere of surround sound over the audience."

Sound can also be driven to each individual speaker, as many as 64 speakers per theater, meaning if you see someone walk off screen and their final destination is somewhere behind you, you'll hear their steps pass along the wall and end up behind you, just as you'd hear outside in the real world.

Right now, primarily because of all the extra speakers that are needed, there are only more than a dozen Atmos enabled theaters nationwide, though Dolby expects by the end of next year, you should have a much easier time finding one, wherever you happen to be.

"Nationwide, currently, there are 14 locations and by the end of the year, you'll see around 80 to 100 systems worldwide," Bowling says. "And then, as we go into official product launch at the beginning of next year, by the end of 2013, audiences should expect to have about 1,000 worldwide."

Right now, there are just a handful of movies mixed to work with Atmos, most notably the Disney animated film "Brave." Developers say while they do expect the system will somehow, someday make its way into your home theater setup, they would not venture a guess as to when that might happen.

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